The Oregonian has some good coverage of the effort by natural-gas companies to run a pair of natural-gas pipelines through the state.
The opponents, community activists and environmental advocates, argue that they're unnecessary and dangerous:
Opponents of the terminals and associated pipelines, ranging from environmental activists to concerned residents, have their own campaign. They describe the projects as tempting terrorist targets and potential environmental disasters and say the projects threaten not only safety and quality of life for residents but also the local tourist trade.
They pepper their descriptions of LNG with words such as "blast zone" and "vaporized." And they contend that while investors have tried to put a friendly local face on their projects, they are really wildcatters from Houston and New York.
On the other hand, proponents say that it's about energy-security in the Northwest:
Proponents of LNG contend that the gas will stay here. They argue that the Northwest is home to a variety of energy-intensive industries and needs another source of gas to buffer price shocks as supplies from the Rocky Mountains and Canada become constrained. Exports of Canadian gas are expected to decline as its domestic demand heats up for use in separating oil from sands in Alberta. Meanwhile, pipelines are under construction that will carry Rockies gas to East Coast markets, where prices are higher.
"In the absence of additional supply, the Northwest will find itself in a very volatile market," said Joe Desmond, former chairman of the California Energy Commission, who is now a vice president at NorthernStar Natural Gas, which has proposed one of Columbia facilities, called Bradwood Landing.
And if a liquified-natural-gas terminal is approved, what's the right location? Some argue that the Columbia River is the wrong spot:
On Aug. 13, more than 100 demonstrators launched a small flotilla of boats from the shores of Puget Island on the Columbia to occupy the beach at Bradwood Landing, an abandoned mill site that is little more than a patch of scrub brush sitting below a riverside escarpment.
"I think LNG has a place in the energy mix, but this is the wrong place for it," said Jim Reed, a resident of nearby Cathlamet, Wash., and a former manager of an LNG project in Russia with Marathon Oil Co. "A major emergency is a low-probability event, but with this current, could you contain a spill? It's hard to a get a sense of whether NorthernStar knows what it's facing."
Is all this about providing natural gas to Californians? That won't sit well with Oregonians:
The destination of the gas has long been a key question, and the proposed pipelines have provided new fuel for the fire. Opponents of the terminals contend that developers, chased out of California, now plan to use Oregon as a conduit to that market.
They point out that the facilities' combined capacity is far greater than Oregon's daily demand for natural gas and claim that California, with its mammoth market and higher prices, is the obvious destination.
In a filing with securities regulators, NorthernStar acknowledged that California was a possible market and the Palomar pipeline could -- if built -- provide that access with its connection to an interstate pipeline near Madras.
Ken Zimmerman, an analyst of resource markets with the Oregon Public Utility Commission, said it's no secret that California is the big gas market. It's likely, Zimmerman said, that three-quarters of the gas coming through an LNG terminal in Oregon would be sold to customers in the state to the south.
Read the rest. Discuss.